Sabah and Malaya are Different part 3 of 5

The Sabah Mindset

In Sabah, in the early days most of the teachers come from Central Java or Banjarmasin.  Teachers from these places are mainly dakwah (those whose function to spread the religion).  They trained not just as a teacher but also to be as part of the society where they are going.  Their approach is to assimilate themselves into the community and not just interact.

They training include building houses, dig wells, a repair person, medicine men etc that a community may need.  They assimilate themselves into the society and eventually become part of the community.

Their philosophy is that they are teaching their own replacements that mean their aim is for the students to replace the teacher eventually.  Flexible specialization the more proper term used in economics.

We therefore see, the teacher in Malaya emphasizes educating the masses and not the individuals.  In Sabah because of the sparse populated areas, large areas to cover and the small number of teachers, the emphasis is on teaching the individuals and not the masses.

As the result, there are clearly two distinct approaches to meet the same goal.  It is important to understand this because the way of life of the Malays in Sabah and Malaya today, better understood by knowing this.

However, each of these approaches produces two different set of people.  This influence the way they think and their way of life.

In Malaya, a person cannot simply decide on something (say marrying a Christian girl without converting or vice versa) this is because a person’s decision must conform to the social norms; otherwise, the society will exert pressure upon the individual to abandon the idea.

In Sabah, everything tolerated as long as it is not in conflict with the central tenet of the beliefs.  As the result, how Sabahans perceived race, religion, and country is the choice of the individuals not the society.  The society does not put pressure on the individuals to conform to this ideology.

This is perhaps the reason it is exasperating for UMNO to understand Sabahans; Sabahans cannot appreciate the race, religion, and country mantra.  To a Malaya Malay it is a way of life for the society but to a Sabahan it is a choice to for individuals.  So why make a big issue out of race and religion such that everyone must conform?  The Malay elites in Malaya controls the mind of the Malay masses through race and religion for many decades, yet when they come to Sabah the ideology is just frozen in its tracks.

As I have mentioned earlier, the basic teaching approaches used in Sabah is the main difference with the Malays in Malaya.  There is nothing special or requiring a miraculous to mobilize Sabahans, it is how far you can understand a Sabahan to make them move.  Comparing Sabah to experiences in Malaya is like comparing apple and oranges.  This is not to say that Sabah is unique or special.  It is the benchmark use to understand them may not be proper.

Imagine a Malaya Malay who went to a Malay Kampung in Sabah and in his political speech start criticizing and demonizing the Christians or the Pagans.  The Sabahan Malays will be offended because these same Christians, Pagans, Dusuns are also their in-laws, uncles, aunties, grandfather and grandmother.

As a proper host, a Sabahan may not throw out the guest, but it does not mean that they will give all their support.  In this situation often, the Malayan Malay considers their lack of support ungrateful.  Who is suppose to understand whom here?

The intention to win votes will backfire and the tendency to lose the seat is greater if they are not careful.  So how can the UMNO mantra of race, religion, and country work in Sabah?  It simply cannot work, or it may work for a segment of the population but the majority will take it with resentment and dissent.

After 16 years of broken promises and continuously excuses such as “it was not me before, I am now different” do not hold any currency with the people anymore.  When BN made the promise, anyone who is standing for BN is accountable.  Therefore, in the next election, BN deeds matter to the people not just their rhetoric.

The Sabahans have learned a bitter lesson, that to progress, societies must unite and will thwart any attempt to create cleavage within societies.  That is the reason for having a genuine concept of Unity in Diversity and ethnic trust building.

Unlike the many plans in Malaya, which only talk about Unity but at the end of the day, they are aligning along racial lines.

In Sabah we are worse off, it does not matter you are Malay, Kadazan, Dusun, Muruts, Chinese we have been discriminated, disenfranchised and marginalized for the last 47 years.

By persevering for the past 47 years together, the societies in Sabah became much more cohesive, strengthen, and mature.  It will take more than just mere talk to change our minds.  Sabahans are not as gullible as before.

This discussion will continue in Sabah and Malaya are Different part 4 of 5 …..

Sabah Sifu


About sifusiber
A husband & a father who wants his children to have a better future

2 Responses to Sabah and Malaya are Different part 3 of 5

  1. analyst06 says:

    Sorry Sifu, I think my last comment was suppose to be here not on part 2. I have to agree with you that at most times we have to apologise on behalf of our guest from Malaya who is not sensitive about the people in Sabah. They bring along their racial baggage and dump it all over the place and expect us to clean up after them. Really, this is getting tiresome. After 47 years of forming Malaysia they still could not behave like Malaysian. They are just big bully.

    • sifusiber says:

      I have to agree with you on that. I think we have to do our best to educate this people that Malaya is not the center of the universe that they can just take us for granted. In Malaya they may be worse than peons but over here they wanted to act as if they are masters. The problem is when we are accommodating they tend to think that they can push us around. So we have to tell them straight in the face that what they are doing is wrong. If they are not happy about it tough.

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